Growing colon polyps can cause discomfort and some pain that may only develop after the polyps have grown extensively in an individual's colon. However, many people with polyps may produce no symptoms, leading to a higher risk of colon cancer if the polyps worsen. Thankfully, a colonoscopy or colon inspection procedure can identify these polyps before they worsen.
Colon Polyps Can Be a Cause of Concern
Colon polyps are not uncommon and can grow heavily in many people's bodies. Most of the time, they're benign and don't cause a higher cancer risk. However, some types may be at a higher risk of cancer than others. For example, an adenomatous polyp occurs due to DNA changes. These changes turn about 10% of these polyps into cancer. On the other hand, polyposis polyps typically produce the highest risk of colon cancer.
Moreover, those with a family history of colon cancer may be at a higher risk for cancer when developing polyps. As a result, those who show signs of discomfort and pain in their digestive system (a common symptom of heavy polyp growth) may need to get a colonoscopy to manage this concern. This diagnostic tool may help spot the type of polyps in a person's colon and gauge their cancer risk.
How a Colonoscopy May Help
A colonoscopy or colon inspection procedure uses a series of simple tools to diagnose an individual's polyp spread. These tools include a small camera fed into a person's colon slowly. As the camera moves through the colon, doctors can identify the spread of polyps and the type. The type will vary slightly in appearance or spread and should be easy for a professional to diagnose effectively.
After diagnosing the polyp type, doctors can take polyp samples using the same colonoscopy tools and test them in their lab. They may also use the same tools to remove these polyps while they're there, cleaning up a person's colon and minimizing the risk of spreading polyps. Most people feel minimal discomfort or pain during a colonoscopy and usually require almost no medication when appropriately handled.
People concerned about colon cancer or who have a family history of colon polyps may want to reach out to a medical professional who can provide this procedure for them. Typically, people over the age of 50 may need a colonoscopy at least once a year to spot potential risks of colon cancer, as their potential increases heavily after this age.